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More bad news for the guv’s plan

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Have there been any positive editorials or columns about this turkey? From today’s Daily Southtown:

While there may be some financial benefit to privatizing some segments of government, the public shouldn’t be fooled into thinking this plan offers anything more than temporary cash relief. Blagojevich doesn’t have to worry because he probably won’t be governor when this lottery plan runs its course. Maybe the pawn shops will still be open.

Meanwhile, the governor won’t release details about how he arrived at that $10 billion figure.

The Blagojevich administration said Tuesday it won’t release a consultant’s work on how much money the state could make by selling or leasing the state lottery. The administration compared such a move to sharing playbooks with rival sports teams.

Republicans have called for public disclosure.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich last week proposed privatizing the lottery to provide a bonanza of cash for education over the next few years. He said New York-based consultant Goldman Sachs estimated the sale would bring in $10 billion.

But the administration has not provided anything to back up that estimate or explain how it was reached. Blagojevich’s aides said they are sticking by that policy because companies interested in running the lottery could use such details to craft lower bids.

“Lovie Smith wouldn’t give his playbook to the Packers, and Bruce Weber wouldn’t give his playbook to Michigan State,” Blagojevich budget spokeswoman Becky Carroll said, referring to the coaches of the Chicago Bears and the University of Illinois men’s basketball team.

He is not inspiring confidence in his plan.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 7:27 am:

    I like the playbook comparison. I mean, he sure doesn’t want to show caring voters the gaping holes in his head, I mean, plan. He surely doesn’t want people like Rich to know exactly how imbecilic this latest “money-grab to no future” ploy really is. People would laugh lustily at seeing that cocktail napkin.

    But Rev/Sen Meeks got what he wanted. Personally, I wouldn’t want universal derision, but, to each his own.

  2. - DOWNSTATE - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 7:27 am:

    Con men never allow their plan to be exposed.It’s a con and the only ones following these people are the ones that want Democrats to stay in power no matter how bad it will cripple Illinois’s economy.

  3. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 7:59 am:

    The source of education funding is probably irrelevant, but finding some funding for the pre-school idea seems non-negotiable.

    There’s always tollways or excessively generous government pensions and benefits to tap.

  4. - frustrated GOP - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 8:23 am:

    “If I were to make public these tapes, containing blunt and candid remarks on many different subjects, the confidentiality of the office of the president would always be suspect.”

    Richard M. Nixon
    I thought I would post just for reference.

  5. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 8:35 am:

    Nice soundbite from Carroll, but not a very apt metaphor.

    If, as Blagojeich says, the study shows that the Lottery system is worth $10 billion, why wouldn’t we want potential bidders to see it? Isn’t showing them the plan the best way to get our asking price?

    It’s like asking for a mortgage but telling the bank they can’t inspect your home first, or selling your car but telling potential buyers they can’t take it for a test drive, can’t even see it first.

    I don’t think the Gov’s whole “secret plan” strategy is not going to work.

  6. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 8:57 am:

    The Governor’s plan is top secret but he was critical of Topinka for not having a plan? So you have a $10 billion proposal for selling the lottery but you won’t show anyone how you arrived at this figure? If Topinka claimed she had a secret plan can you imagine the attack ads that the Governor would run about it?

    And we have five more months of this?

    Louis G. Atsaves

  7. - Pat Hickey - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 9:06 am:

    Parental Choice, the ugly step-child to School Reformers, remains the only real bold step to real education reform and waits in the gang-way until members of the family are done stuffing themselves.

  8. - Shallow Pharnyx - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 9:09 am:

    He can’t make it public or Meeks would know he got scr@$#% and threaten to run again.

  9. - Cassandra - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 9:12 am:

    Blago probably isn’t releasing the report because
    he doesn’t want a public discussion of the no doubt fanciful assumptions that Goldman made in coming up with the 10 billion. And assumptions are everything in this type of report.

    It’s also important to remember that Goldman is
    not objective. They are hired guns who no doubt would like a piece of the deal should it go anywhere. Any predictions they make should be viewed with extreme skepticism.

    Blago would apparently like us to be as gullible
    as he is.

  10. - Wheres the leadership??? - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 9:18 am:

    If you research every company that did “Free” work for this administration, my bet is they were eventually awarded a nice fat contract. You can pay anyone to say anything. This is a bad plan and will bankrupt the state in the future.

  11. - Been There - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 9:22 am:

    If this were a real plan and actually thought through since last year (would be a first for this administration), the Governor would have called a special session to pass that plan for funding education. We know they can even run not well thought out “plans” quickly through the legislature, witness All Kids “framework” pushed and passed in veto session last year in time for the primary and this years election. No special session called, adds to the growing evidence this is a pure political play, not good government.

    Has anyone figured out for sure whether this “plan” counts the 600-650 million the lottery would otherwise produce in the 1 billion allocated in the first four years? If they aren’t this really is messed up as the incremental increase is only 350-400 million over each of the next four years (not ONE BILLION we keep getting thrown at us) and then of course the funding stream ends in the out years. I am presuming, the way this administration adds numbers, that if this really was an additional one billion to education, they would be touting how 1.6 billion would now be going to education.

  12. - Southern Illinoisian - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 9:43 am:

    Just another piece of sh!t from the biggest a$$hole in the state.

    I’ve had it waaaaaay past here with this bunch of yahoos. Come on, Election Day.

  13. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 10:13 am:

    You can’t release what you don’t have.

  14. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 10:27 am:

    Ideas are great if you are sitting in class or chatting with friends. In government, you had better come up with a plan and framework for your ideas. Blago’s team may have some interesting ideas but they have no facts or hard numbers to back those ideas up. At best this is a repeat of the 2003 bonding bonanza that put us farther into debt.

    JBT should now wait to formulate her plan on education issues until Blago’s plan is solidified. Blago can no longer poke and prod at JBT for not having a plan. It can be said that Topinka’s statement in the debate about putting an emphasis on tech/science areas is more substantive than just selling the state lottery/tollway/seal/mascot/flower to pay off a political rival.

    And Pat is correct. School choice/vouchers is going to become necessary quite soon. If not I fear that impoverished areas will continue to demand more taxpayer dollars for failing schools that never seem to improve in terms of test scores and graduation rates. Rev. Meeks can crow all he wants about education funding but eventually he has to stop making excuses and realize that pumping money into a broken system is a waste.

  15. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 10:38 am:

    He won’t release the plan because it hasn’t been copied from the cocktail napkin it was written on.

  16. - Joe - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 11:04 am:

    Here’s the plan. Sell $650M income stream for $10B to Company X (Company X is ready to buy, but they must remain secret or some other entity will come in and offer less!) Then, take $6B and buy an 1 year 11% CD from Alexi’s bank to kick off the needed $650M income needed.

  17. - frustrated GOP - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 12:23 pm:

    Joe You’re good till you get to the 11% CD. What it will be, is an investment in a casino somewhere amybe Florida. Maybe a horse farm in Mich., or maybe some new plan for a resort in Northern Wisc. The return will be much better than 11%. So I guess that’s the State’s cut for cleaning money. I was wondering. Well now that we know what a laundry makes we can talk about some other issues. How about: If education is so important why can’t the Democratic controled government pass a bond bill to fund the State’s obligations to schools?

  18. - Ivory-billed Woodpecker - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 12:25 pm:

    A million years ago, some people actually thought gambling was a vice. We can see echoes of this quaint belief in the lottery law provision requiring the Lottery Control Board “ensure that advertising content and practices do not target with the intent to exploit specific groups or economic classes of people. . . .” 20 ILCS 1605/7.8a.

    If the state privatizes the lottery, we should expect the holder will want to promote the franchise in a way that returns the greatest profit, presumably with more aggressive lottery marketing that looks a lot like what we see today for casinos. I don’t know what distinguishes an “intent to exploit specific groups or economic classes of people” from simple marketing. But it probably means something — the kind of ephemeral, floating thing that is easier to work out among politically appointed board members than in court.

    A party seeking the lottery franchise will want to be rid of this albatross of a requirement. I hope we can look forward to a fight about it.

  19. - IVOTE! - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 1:38 pm:

    All this talk about “the details” is like arguing over the length of Santa Claus’ beard! Like most of Blago’s “plans” all that exists is a press release! That’s all that ever WILL exist, too! Why Meeks was so dumb as to believe a blago promise, I can’t imagine. Blago’s unfulfilled promises litter the state from one end to the other. His first few months Jesse White (the Dems most prolific vote-getter) called him a liar (re: budget for SOS), and it’s gone down hill from there. Time after time after time Blago has made promises, then changed his mind. That’s why “Memoranda of Understanding” were invented–not even Mike Madigan or Emil Jones trust the guy! Like his lawyers’ said when the downstate prison workers sued him for reneging on his promise re: prison staffing, it’s all just “political puffery” and not meant to believed! Nothing he says can be belived. Nothing! NOTHING!

  20. - ONE MAN CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 2:28 pm:

    Senator James Meeks was scheduled to appear for an interview this morning on FOX NEWS IN THE MORNING. However, his staff called and said he was sick.

    I wonder did he make any appearances today or did the today’s featured letter to the Suntimes editor make him change his mind.

  21. - Lovie's Leather - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 2:32 pm:

    Ha, Lovie Smith wouldn’t give his play book to Green Bay… he would just come up with some fake plays and make sure it gets to them. Hmm… yeah, it’ll make us 10 billion dollars… way to throw out the fake playbook, Blago….

  22. - Minion - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 4:07 pm:

    “Lovie Smith wouldn’t give his playbook to the Packers, and Bruce Weber wouldn’t give his playbook to Michigan State,” Blagojevich budget spokeswoman Becky Carroll said…

    and Becky shouldn’t be using metaphors that make no sense and have no application in this situation. Still, I will give her credit for at least knowing who Lovie Smith and Bruce Weber are. The New York kid and others in the admin. probably wouldn’t even know who they are.

  23. - Minion - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 4:10 pm:

    I mean, come on Becky. This isn’t a freaking game! You need legislators to VOTE on this proposal, and without all the facts why in the world would they push the green button for this proposal??

    I think one of the above posters had it right: you can’t release what does not exist.

    (Sorry for the double posting)…

  24. - 'The Gay Governor' - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 4:12 pm:

    Goldman Sachs is doing so-called pro bono work for Blago and Blago doesn’t want to realease details of the firm’s work. Let’s think about this.
    What happens when financial firms work pro bono for Blago? Lo and behold, they get sweet contracts. Oh, and they just happen to help craft the RFP for the contract, giving themselves a significant advantage in so-called “bidding.”
    And what’s Goldman Sachs up to? The Wall Street Journal says Goldman Sachs is developing a multi-billion-dollar fund to buy public assets like tollways. It’s trying to play catch-up with foreign firms that leased the Skyway and Indiana tollway - and stand to make a bunch of money.
    Now Goldman Sachs is quietly advising Blago about leasing the lottery. Do you suppose that Goldman Sachs is positioning itself to buy the damn thing? Seems like a no-brainer.
    Guess who gets screwed? The public, again. Not only is Blago trying to sell an asset he says is worth $10 billion so he can give $4 billion to schools — thanks for such a great deal, guv — but his people are so arrogant they won’t even come clean with the most rudimentary details.
    Guess who cares about the public getting screwed? Not this governor. He’s holding the drill.
    Reminds me of the guy that Rep. Joyce sent to the Skyway. He was caught banging his head against the wall - literally.

  25. - Swami - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 4:32 pm:

    Blo-puffer-vich has no right to withhold this report. Puffer needs to be reminded that the state of Illinois owns the lottery - not him. The public has every right to request a review of this report before our assets are leased or sold.

  26. - Little Lotto - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 5:20 pm:

    “Lovie Smith wouldn’t give his playbook to the Packers, and Bruce Weber wouldn’t give his playbook to Michigan State,” Blagojevich budget spokeswoman Becky Carroll said…

    I thought the Governor of the State was on everyone’s team? Only a candidate would be on his team. More proof that this plan is a political tool and not public policy tool.

    The sad part of this is how this hurts the reputation of Senator Meeks, a guy who sounded honorable before he hooked up with Governor Gamblovich.

  27. - Hold Everything - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 5:26 pm:

    Hang on fellas-the story has changed! The Bloomington Pantagraph reports this morning that “There is no formal report” in the words of the omnipresent Becky Carroll. Hmmm.

    Methinks it’s Joe Taxpayer that is getting the “Pro Bono” outta this mess, not Rod & Co.

  28. - Nickolai Ivanovich Lobachevfsky - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 5:38 pm:

    There is no formal, they got the shredder working again?

    This edu-lotto plan reminds me of a favorite NewYorker cartoon:

    Two scientists, chalk in hand, are contemplating a blackboard covered with indecipherable equations on the right and left sides. In the center is a dead space, no equations but in parens, are scrawled in chalk the words (”Then a miracle occurs…”). And one of the professors is saying something like ‘You’ve GOT it!’

    This cartoon in a nutshell is and has been the Blagojevich budget strategy.

  29. - 'The Gay Governor' - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 6:04 pm:

    Is there anything this administration does that isn’t completely bizarre?
    It just gets weirder and weirder.
    Good thing the governor has a full war chest to convince people he’s looking out for their best interests. And lots of taxpayer-funded staff like Becky Carroll to help spread that message. And directors of agencies like DOC and IEPA that are happy to spend their days talking publicly around All Kids.
    They certainly are responsible stewards of the taxpayer’s time.
    I loved the moment in the WMAQ debate when Topinka and Kay are taking turns hitting Blago over all the invetigations into his activities.
    The questions/jabs fly so fast that Blago just goes blank. Until, at the last second just before they cut to commercial, he perks up and asks, “What’s that got to do with the people of the state of Illinois?”
    It was absolutely precious.

  30. - Minion - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 6:31 pm:

    agreed about Meeks. It will be after the election, the vote will happen, it will lose, and what will Meeks be left with? Nothing.

  31. - Hold Everything - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 8:06 pm:

    Here’s another classic surely from the lips of Becky: (via AP, this in re the “1800 list”)

    In response to a March 30 Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the pending transactions committee, CMS said it had none. To an identical request, Blagojevich’s budget office would not confirm that such documents existed, but said if they did, they would be exempt from disclosure under FOIA.

    “We don’t got no stinkin’ documents, but if we did, we’d have to kill you.”

    I don’t know about you folks, but I’ve lost count of how many different stories these people have told about their hiring practices.


  32. - EducationAdvocate - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 8:16 pm:

    Becky, the Governor is NO LOVIE SMITH. He has no play book. Meeks was set up, attorneys or no attorneys to help see the way when the deal was struck.

    One time deals are just that, one time. Ther revenues sources need to be sustainable over time. He is putting the financial status of the state in peril. How do those bond ratings look now? The lower the bond rating the higher the interest payment. Finance 301. Perhaps they could have put Mr. Paulson in as budget man instead of loaning him to the President yesterday for Treasury Secretary. “President Bush on Tuesday named Henry “Hank” Paulson as his new Treasury Secretary, enlisting a powerful Wall Street player to lead his economic team as he seeks to lift his sagging poll ratings.” At least Hank has budgetary experience, went to Dartmouth and MBA’d at Harvard, damn near knows what he’s doing. Gee, and he’s from Illinois. Hmmm. Wouldn’t that have been nice.

  33. - Anon. - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 10:15 pm:

    Just wait: In a month from now the Governor will magically get permission from Goldman Sachs to release the report. This will give Goldman Sachs a month to come up with some stupid reason why it’s worth that much.

    If Goldman Sachs is a willing participant in this scheme, they lose all credibility. They should run away from this as fast as possible.

  34. - Ivory-billed Woodpecker - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 10:52 pm:

    Nickolai Ivanovich Lobachevfsky (if that really is your name):

    I think you’re describing everyone’s favorite Sidney Harris cartoon,


  35. - Nickolai Ivanovich Lobachevfsky - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 11:54 pm:

    Ivory-billed, you nailed it. I thought it was the NewYorker, but you found the right one I meant. look at that cartoon and just write “budget” over the top.

    That’s my given name, but usueally I go by my nickname Tom Lehrer.

  36. - Peaches - Thursday, Jun 1, 06 @ 12:37 am:

    Just wait - in a month Goldman Sachs will actually have the report completed (after being paid once for the imagainary report and once to actually do the work - or at least write down something that can be released), justifying an even higher price for the sale of the lottery - as well as evaluating what could be reaped from the tollways.

  37. - ironman - Thursday, Jun 1, 06 @ 12:44 am:

    Maybe the blago should invest the state pension funds into the same fund. I would love to get 11% for retirement.. instead of billions in debt.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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